Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

Tying together poetry, parenting, and advertising in a neat little package

Poetry Friday: “Francis and the Saint”

When I’m not writing children’s poetry, writing advertising copy, or writing my blog, I’m writing adult poetry.  Sorry, those two words together – “adult poetry” – just sound weird…but I just don’t know how else to differentiate it from all my children’s poetry.  In last Friday’s post, I made reference to poets being stereotypically sullen and depressed, and while this doesn’t really describe Yours Truly, I do like to put on my Serious Hat now and then and write poems for an older crowd.

This happens to be one of those poems.

It’s a very personal poem (of course, they all are, aren’t they?) – because I wrote it about my wife’s paternal grandfather, Francis.  She and I were very close to him, and we asked if he would be the Best Man at our wedding in August 2008.  He accepted, but unfortunately passed away that spring, before he was able to fulfill his duties.  A deeply religious man, a devout Catholic, he felt a strong connection to his patron saint, St. Francis of Assisi, and he always believed that my wife and I found each other because of his prayers.

Considering the crushing emotional difficulties she and I had gone through with our respective divorces, and the fact that we stumbled upon each other so quickly and strongly, we had every reason to believe it, as well.

Imagine the irony, then, that this poem – written two years after Francis’ death – would end up being published by St. Francis College’s Assisi: Online Journal of Arts & Letters.

Sometimes, things just have a way of working out.

Francis and the Saint

Grandfather loved his birds.
They weren’t really his, of course –
flying to him from the trees and bushes,
out of the sky above, from behind
houses
lining the cobblestone,
and in-between
awnings and light posts.

Alighting upon his shoulder
or a finger or two
never outstretched
nor enticing,
they must have sensed
safety, security,
calmness of mind.

He attributed that to his namesake
the deacon,
the patron saint
the one who gave what he had
built what he could
and became rich in poverty.

And now, as grandfather’s birds
return to him
this final time
from behind the clouds
and rain-soaked pillars,
sparrow, robin, wren
descend,
perch upon his bed
and grandfather
in quiet requiescence
smiles.

- © 2010 Matt Forrest Esenwine

If you’d like, you can view the entire issue which includes my poem here.  And Poetry Friday hostess Violet Nesdoly has today’s complete roundup!

Single Post Navigation

30 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: “Francis and the Saint”

  1. That’s beautiful, Matt.

  2. It’s a lovely poem.
    I especially like– sparrow, robin, wren/descend,/perch upon his bed
    Yes, things do seem to have a way of working out.

  3. very nice, Matt. I love the requiescence. One doesn’t often see that word.

  4. Absolutely lovely, Matt. That last stanza especially got me. Beautiful language and sound and tone throughout. Grown-up poetry can be freeing, eh?

  5. It’s the kind of poem that leaves a hush in the room — a reverent beauty and grace that gently settles upon the reader. It reminds me of the Native American belief that birds are the messengers between heaven and earth. So lovely, Matt — also enjoyed the backstory about Grandfather. :)

    • Thank you, all! BJ, funny how sometimes, one single, unusual word like ‘requiescence’ is the only one that will work, isn’t it? Renee, you should read some ofthe more depressing stuff I’ve come up with – ‘freeing,’ indeed! And Jama, I’m glad the reverence came through…I discovered it’s not easy writing a poem about death that needs to be gentle and uplifting without being dark or even melancholy.

  6. Matt,
    I’m glad that “things have a way of working out,” so that we could read this poem and back story. Beautiful poem. Thank you for sharing.

  7. An amazing tribute to an amazing man. Thanks so much for sharing your words today. =)

  8. Lovely poem, Matt. I love the bird parallel between Grandfather and St. Francis. The last verse is so poignant. Just that word “final” says it all. Great internal rhyme in that last verse, too! Just writing about life experiences we all must face is freeing, I think.

  9. Janet F. on said:

    I felt your grandfather in your words and tribute, Matt. A man who could relate to birds, with whom they found safety and comfort, is a man to be well-loved and remembered. That he was not enticing, but offered calmness of mind, are two of my favorite parts. Safety and security, too. I think children have this sense, too. They just know. I would love to hear you read your poem.

  10. What a wonderful poem, Matt! It’s always great when poems we write out of personal inspiration resonate with a larger audience. It looks like it found a publication home in just the right place.

  11. Lovely poem, Matt. I especially like the sound and imagery of
    >>sparrow, robin, wren
    descend,
    perch upon his bed<<
    Thanks for sharing it, and for commenting on my poem today.

  12. Kathy Brodsky on said:

    Beautiful, Matt! Kathy

    Kathy Brodsky (603) 668-1975 kathy@kathybrodsky.com http://www.kathybrodsky.com http://www.helpingwords.com

    Quoted in the Wall St. Journal: http://tinyurl.com/wsj2010; My Bent Tree &The Inside Story honorable mention Green Book Festival 2010; The Winner Is & Stover Creative Child Preferred Choice Award 2011; A Horse Named Special – Creative Child Magazine 2012 Picture Book of the Year Award.

  13. As you know, my grandmother, who loved birds, died last week. Very timely poem for me. I went to visit Assisi and was impressed — it looks great. It’s a wonderful bit of serendipity to have your poem about Grandfather Francis there.

    • I do feel for you and your family, Tabatha…and like I said, sometimes things just havea way of working out. I honestly had no idea why I picked this poem to feature; perhaps we now know why.

  14. Lovely story about you and your wife’s grandfather, Matt. I like the voice in the poem. It has a reverent feel. When we write about those we love, it seems different, better.

  15. As I was reading your first paragraph I thought, “‘Adult poetry’ sounds funny,” and then you said the same thing. :-) I really like this poem a lot. I love the way you’ve combined your wife’s grandfather and Saint Francis and the birds. Beautiful.

  16. Moving and beautiful, Matt – I wanted to meet this man after reading it. (Perhaps someday…?) I love those lines that Liz and Carmela highlighted. Thank you for sharing the poem and the story behind it.

  17. Thank you, all! When one writes such a personal poem, one never knows how – or if – it will resonate with anyone else…so I’m pleased it did.

  18. Lovely poem, Matt. St. Francis and your wife grandfather served as reminders to be open to nature and animals. My son is traveling to Italy this summer and will visit Assisi. I’m so pleased for him!

  19. Pingback: Poetry Friday: “Mud Pies for Sale!” « Radio, Rhythm & Rhyme

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Laura Purdie Salas

writing the world for kids

Eat This Poem

a literary food blog

Tying together poetry, parenting, and advertising in a neat little package

The Drawer Of M. M. Socks

Stories - Tall and Short for the Tall and Short

Catherine Johnson

Poems for kids of all ages and dreamers everywhere

You've Got Your Hands Full

Just another WordPress.com site

Jama's Alphabet Soup

an eclectic feast of food, fiction and folderol

Creative Writing with the Crimson League

Creative Writing Tips and Authorial Support from Fantasy Writer Victoria Grefer

Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)

Blog & website of children's book author Tara Lazar

Julie True Kingsley's Blog

Musings on really nothing...

Dave Courvoisier's Blog

Tying together poetry, parenting, and advertising in a neat little package

Florian Cafe

Tying together poetry, parenting, and advertising in a neat little package

sharon abra hanen

children's literature, poetry, & other magical creative stuff

crackles of speech.............. poems for all ages................... by steven withrow

Tying together poetry, parenting, and advertising in a neat little package

Tying together poetry, parenting, and advertising in a neat little package

J.S. Gilbert

Copywriting, Advertising Creative, Voice Over Talent and a few surprises

The Poem Farm

Tying together poetry, parenting, and advertising in a neat little package

DAN O’DAY TALKS ABOUT RADIO

Tying together poetry, parenting, and advertising in a neat little package

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,321 other followers

%d bloggers like this: